Insanely Simple by Ken Segall


11 Critic Reviews

Insanely Simple should be required reading for any boss with a Byzantine organisation and a shrinking business.


To Steve Jobs, Simplicity was a religion. It was also a weapon. Simplicity isn’t just a design principle at Apple—it’s a value that permeates every level of the organization. The obsession with Simplicity is what separates Apple from other technology companies. It’s what helped Apple recover from near death in 1997 to become the most valuable company on Earth in 2011. Thanks to Steve Jobs’s uncompromising ways, you can see Simplicity in everything Apple does: the way it’s structured, the way it innovates, and the way it speaks to its customers. It’s by crushing the forces of Complexity that the company remains on its stellar trajectory. As ad agency creative director, Ken Segall played a key role in Apple’s resurrection, helping to create such critical marketing campaigns as Think different. By naming the iMac, he also laid the foundation for naming waves of i-products to come. Segall has a unique perspective, given his years of experience creating campaigns for other iconic tech companies, including IBM, Intel, and Dell. It was the stark contrast of Apple’s ways that made Segall appreciate the power of Simplicity—and inspired him to help others benefit from it. In Insanely Simple, you’ll be a fly on the wall inside a conference room with Steve Jobs, and on the receiving end of his midnight phone calls. You’ll understand how his obsession with Simplicity helped Apple perform better and faster, sometimes saving millions in the process. You’ll also learn, for example, how to:
• Think Minimal: Distilling choices to a minimum brings clarity to a company and its customers—as Jobs proved when he replaced over twenty product models with a lineup of four.
• Think Small: Swearing allegiance to the concept of “small groups of smart people” raises both morale and productivity.
• Think Motion: Keeping project teams in constant motion focuses creative thinking on well-defined goals and minimizes distractions.
• Think Iconic: Using a simple, powerful image to symbolize the benefit of a product or idea creates a deeper impression in the minds of customers.
• Think War: Giving yourself an unfair advantage—using every weapon at your disposal—is the best way to ensure that your ideas survive unscathed.Segall brings Apple’s quest for Simplicity to life using fascinating (and previously untold) stories from behind the scenes. Through his insight and wit, you’ll discover how companies that leverage this power can stand out from competitors—and individuals who master it can become critical assets to their organizations.

About Ken Segall

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KEN SEGALL worked closely with Steve Jobs as ad agency creative director for NeXT and Apple. He was responsible for Apple's legendary Think Different campaign and started Apple down the i-way by naming iMac. Segall has also been creative director for Dell, IBM, Intel, and BMW. He blogs about technology and marketing at and
Published April 26, 2012 by Portfolio. 234 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Computers & Technology. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on May 13 2012
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Insanely Simple
All: 11 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 3


Reviewed by Iain Morris on Jul 01 2012

Insanely Simple should be required reading for any boss with a Byzantine organisation and a shrinking business.

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The Verge

Reviewed by Dieter Bohn on Apr 26 2012

As a kind of oral history of Apple's turnaround and a window into the Apple of the late 90s and early 2000s, Insanely Simple works.

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Cult of Mac

Below average
Reviewed by Nicole Martinelli on Apr 25 2012

The book is somewhat larded down with a “Here’s how you, too, can be like Steve” angle that feels forced compared to Segall’s amiable storytelling style.

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Mac Stories

Reviewed by Federico Viticci on Apr 26 2012

Insanely Simple may be “simpler” in terms of scope and chronological events, but it left me with a more complex, genuine necessity of reflecting more about Simplicity and its effects on Apple’s history than Isaacon’s book ever did.

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PC Advisor

Reviewed by Simon Jary on Jul 07 2012

Insanely Simple is a joy to read for all Apple fans, and inspiring for managers and marketers of businesses large and small.

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Business Day

Reviewed by Richard Waters on Jun 05 2012

Like an art student seeking to learn from the deceptive simplicity of a Picasso, however, it never hurts to study the masters.

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Shlok Vaidya

Below average
Reviewed by Shlok Vaidya on Apr 26 2012

The one thing this book struggles with is, Ken’s passion for advertising selling product is on every page.

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Liberty Books

Below average
Jul 07 2012

Which is why Insanely Simple works better as a profile (even if it’s a very limited profile) of Jobs, than as a business book that teaches you how to be successful.

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John Ashcroft

Reviewed by Josh Ashcroft on Jul 04 2012

Never felt like a fly on the wall, taking a call at midnight but I get the obsession and it’s a cool read.

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The Whole Earth Blog

Reviewed by E.M. White on May 31 2012

Overall, Segall writes a solid narrative and I recommend the book to anyone who wished that Isaacson had highlighted more of Jobs’s business savvy.

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The Purposeful Reader

Reviewed by Daniel

It shows how overcoming complexity helps those creating what you sell or those buying it to focus on what matters most.

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Morgan 5 Sep 2013

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Shiva Joshi 5 Sep 2013

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